Divorce often has a major financial impact on both parties. Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, may be paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse to offset some of the negative financial consequences of the divorce. Spousal maintenance may be negotiated and agreed upon by the spouses or imposed by the court. If your spouse is seeking alimony from you, it is important to understand your rights.
Entitlement to Spousal Support
Spouses are not automatically entitled to spousal support because they make less than the other spouse. There are three main ways that a spouse may receive support in a divorce: The first is through a premarital or prenuptial agreement. Courts typically uphold spousal maintenance provisions in a prenup unless there are questions about the validity of the agreement or concerns that the maintenance arrangements would cause undue hardship to a spouse. Spouses may also be able to negotiate the terms of spousal maintenance with help from their respective divorce lawyers. Lastly, a spouse may petition the court for spousal maintenance.
Illinois courts award maintenance on a case-by-case basis based on:
Each spouse’s income and assets
Each spouse’s financial needs
Each spouse’s current and future earning capacity
The allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time
Standing Up For Your Rights as the Breadwinner Spouse
If you made most of the household income during your marriage or your spouse did not work outside of the home, your spouse may be in a position to seek spousal maintenance from you. The amount of maintenance a spouse receives may be negotiated between the parties or determined by a statutory formula. If the court awards maintenance, the amount paid is equal to 33 percent of the payor’s annual net income minus 25 percent of the recipient’s annual net income. The recipient’s net income plus spousal maintenance cannot exceed 40 percent of the couple’s combined net income.
Spousal maintenance payments can be costly. As the higher-earning spouse, it is important to understand your rights and options. You may be able to negotiate favorable spousal maintenance terms with help from your divorce lawyer. Your attorney can help you demonstrate your own financial needs and limitations to the court and ensure that any spousal maintenance terms do not cause you undue hardship.
Contact a St. Charles Spousal Maintenance Lawyer
If you are the breadwinner of your family, you may be subject to a spousal maintenance order. Contact our Kane County divorce attorneys for help. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free consultation.